After a breakfast of tea and a toasted croissant and the leftover landjäger from last night (which still reminds me of a fancy Slim Jim) I head down to Melrose Market. I buy chocolate mint and chives from Marigold & Mint (no flowers; I bought peonies and lupines and sweetpeas and a single, perfect rose a few days ago). I buy burrata and a baguette and a few odds-and-ends of cheese from Calf & Kid. I get some Duroc bacon from Rain Shadow Meats. I love the Melrose Market; I will love it even more when Homegrown opens and I can get sandwiches here.
I walk home thinking about the things I've bought, but also thinking about a dinner tonight. J. and B. are celebrating the completion of their respective books, and are throwing an impromptu potluck. There is one thing - we have to bring a dish that contains four ingredients, no more. No garnish. We are sad that M. can't be there, because he is the kind of cook who garnishes his garnishes. I had initially thought of making a pea-and-bacon salad in endive boats, or corn-and-pine-nuts (also in endive boats). But that would involve going to the supermarket in search of endives.
I make myself lunch, bacon and eggs and a hunk of baguette, and ideas turn themselves over in my head like stones caught in the waves at the beach. I think about a salad of thinly sliced melon and slivers of mint, roughly torn chunks of burrata, a sprinkling of sea salt (salt and pepper and oil do not count as one of our four ingredients), perhaps some toasted hazelnuts for crunch. Just in case, I make a back-up dish - quick pickles of Persian cucumbers, sliced into slim wedges and marinated in a soy-sesame vinaigrette. Usually I use soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, but as there is a slim possibility of a gluten-intolerant guest I make it with wheat-free tamari and Chardonnay vinegar. It tastes just as good this way, and I won't have to worry about making anyone sick. In the end, she doesn't make it to the party, but everyone else digs in with gusto.